X-Message-Number: 5726
From:  (Nick Maclaren)
Newsgroups: sci.cryonics,sci.life-extension,uk.legal
Subject: Re: Death (was Donaldson MR and Miss Hindley)
Date: 12 Feb 1996 11:32:23 GMT
Message-ID: <4fn8g7$>
References: <4flato$> <>

In article <>, Garret Smyth 
<> writes:
|> > There are a good many people (of whom I am one) who regard the modern
|> > phobia about death as a symptom of a sick society.
|> How could I prove to you that I don't have a phobia about death?  ...

By being prepared to face up to the possibility, and consider its
advantages and disadvantages in a reasonably rational manner.  From
your postings, I doubt that you or John de Rivaz have one, though I
cannot say the same about all of the other people on this thread :-)

|> Please tell me, and this isn't a flippant question, just what is so good
|> about being dead?

Well, it can be the end of pain!  But, more generally, the advantage
of being dead is that you get out of the way to give your successors
a chance to live their lives.  And the latter is the basis for my
next statement:

|> > There are sound
|> > social and ethical grounds for making human cryonics illegal...
|> This is a bit provocative! Unlike other cryonicists, I shall try to remain
|> calm and not make any anti lawyer statements (although those who know me
|> will know how hard it is for me not to post a lawyer joke at this point!)
|> Okay, what are the grounds for making cryonics illegal? (Remember - by 
|> your own definition that such grounds would be politics, not law.)

Yes, quite.  They are the same grounds for banning most recreational
drugs, many activities (especially sexual) and so on.  The grounds
are mainly of the form that the social attitudes and behaviour
associated with such things cause indirect harm to society.  But
please note that the activity of banning activities with little
direct harm can itself be harmful!

Remember that I said there are sound grounds for a ban, but I did NOT
claim that those grounds currently justify a ban, which is the basis
for my next statement:

|> > , but my
|> > own view is that this is not yet necessary.  If, however, it starts to
|> > affect (note: not just use) a significant proportion of society's
|> > resources, then I shall change my mind.
|> Cryonics itself will probably never take up a huge amount of the resources
|> of the community and the society (however you define them) because most
|> people won't want to sign up until they are convinced every aspect of the
|> process is reliable.  ...

That is why I said 'affect' and not 'use'.  My concerns about life
support, cryonics etc. are more about the social effects than the
resources consumed.  There are dozens of other activities that are
far more worthy of a ban on resource grounds.  And, to bring the
point full circle, the main social effect that I am concerned about
is society's increasing death phobia.

I have changed the followups line again, because nothing in this
posting is relevant to uk.legal.

Nick Maclaren,
University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory,
New Museums Site, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QG, England.
Tel.:  +44 1223 334761    Fax:  +44 1223 334679

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=5726